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Turning OFF my WordPress Site?

Last Modified: 2019-02-05
Turning OFF my WordPress Site?

I have the Admin login to my WordPress site, but I need to turn it off.

I do not care where the domain points afterwards.

How do I "unpublish" the site?

Watch Question

Use a "Coming Soon" Plugin to turn it off.
"Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd"
curiouswebsterSoftware Engineer


And what if I just want it to go dark?
Daniel PineaultPresident / Owner CARDA Consultants Inc.
Distinguished Expert 2018

Depends on your needs, but I agree with rgranlund just implement a 'coming soon'/'under maintenance' plugin.
another choice is to delete the files/delete wordpress and the MySQL database, or another option is to rename the index file and simply replace it with a blank html page of your choosing.
Daniel PineaultPresident / Owner CARDA Consultants Inc.
Distinguished Expert 2018

To go dark, just delete everything.  Use an FTP client to delete all the files, use PhpMyAdmin to delete the database.
curiouswebsterSoftware Engineer


But I do not want to delete the files, yet...

what if I just want the domain to point to nowhere? That is a change to GoDaddy.
Ah.  Yes, change the DNS record at godaddy to point to its servers or else where.
Terry WoodsWeb Developer, specialising in WordPress
Most Valuable Expert 2011

Pointing the A record for the domain elsewhere may still leave the website accessible directly using the IP address (possibly combined with a hosting account username).

Using a coming soon page plugin would close off most of the site, but the login page would still be active (and still vulnerable to brute force attacks). New security vulnerabilities may still be a problem, if they were particularly severe.

You can completely block access to the website by editing the .htaccess file in the root folder of the WordPress installation, and adding the following lines, or something similar:

ErrorDocument 503 '<h1>This site is currently closed.</h1>'
RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule .* - [R=503,L]

Open in new window

David FavorFractional CTO
Distinguished Expert 2019

To go dark, delete your DNS records completely.

Likely you'll first delete your related database + files.

Tip: Make a backup first, in case you'd like to resurrect your site at some future point.
Principal Software Engineer
This one is on us!
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Most Valuable Expert 2017
Distinguished Expert 2019

Option 1
Rename your .htacess file to .htaccess.deprecated (or similar)
Create a new .htacces file
RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule . - [F,L]

Open in new window

Option 2

1. Rename your index.php file to index.php.deprecated (or similar)
2. Create a new index.php file with nothing in it (or with whatever you want people to see).

Option 3
1. Create a subfolder in your site
2. Copy your website to that folder
3. Remove from the root
4. Change the permissions on the subfolder that don't allow access

There are many more options but the above keep your site intact
David FavorFractional CTO
Distinguished Expert 2019

Read over Dr. Klahn's comment carefully as he brings up a good point.

If you delete you DNS + site database + site content, then the site is only unpublished for new visits.

Systems like Archive + Google will still cache results... well... pretty much forever...

To get rid of all traces, including Archive + Google, then you must leave your site online + start injecting code to instruct companies like Archive + Google to delete all your content from their databases.

After you search their databases + all traces of your site are gone, then do the DNS trick + site files/database deletion trick.

This will cause your site to be gone for both new visits + any lookups of previous content.
curiouswebsterSoftware Engineer



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